Author Archives: John Chuckman

Israel’s self-made problem

Israel has created a terrible problem which it is incapable of solving. That is why it has always been the case that the United States must pretty much dictate a solution, but it is unable to do so, paralyzed as it is by the heavy influence of Israel and America’s own apologists and lobbyists. Continue reading

Of wizards and Washington and the dreary, unrelenting reality of American politics

A raw and sometimes darkly comic survey of America’s treacherous political terrain

The books about “The Wizard of Oz” were written as satire on American politics, but Hollywood, in its inimitable way, turned them into a song-and-dance picture for children. Still, one scene in the film has a sense of the author’s intent. That scene is when Dorothy, in Emerald City, approaches a closet-like structure, which, as it happens, is the Wizard’s control booth for sounds and smoke and lights, his special effects for intimidating visitors and impressing them with non-existent power. Continue reading

The insane circus now going on in Washington

A sad parody of Joseph McCarthy waving fistfuls of blank paper in the early 1950s, insisting they were lists of Communist spies.

The single most important point to keep in mind about the “Russians did it” three-ring circus underway in Washington—after the essential fact that still no proof has been provided to support accusations coming from the highest level—is that there is no issue around the contrived notion of interfering in an American election or endangering American security. None. Continue reading

What happened in this election?

Brushing away the extreme claims and rhetoric of much election analysis, there are some observations which deserve attention. These unfortunately mostly provide hard lessons and not a lot of encouragement for people who hold to principles of democracy, enlightenment, and progressivity. Continue reading

America deserves better, but even more importantly, the world deserves better

The one verity going into the first presidential debate, not widely recognized, was that it did not matter how Clinton managed and what she said, although a collapse on the stage clearly would have been a decisive enough matter. Continue reading

Why Hillary is the perfect person to secure Obama’s legacy

I read a piece that said Hillary, with her speech about racism and extremists taking over the Republican Party, was making a play for a one-party state. That seems rather an exaggeration, but it does contain an important bit of truth. I do indeed believe Hillary thinks along the lines of a one-party state as suggested, but without ever saying so directly, and she is not focused on the particular political party with which she is now associated. Continue reading

Fooling most of the people most of the time is what American politics are about, even when it comes to the threat of nuclear war

I read a column recently, and it was imbued with hopeful thinking about America’s political establishment dealing with its constituents concerning the now increasing threat of nuclear catastrophe. Continue reading

To paraphrase Churchill, Turkey right now is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Events in Turkey just become stranger with each passing day. Continue reading

An American original: John Kerry a life-long ambitious and dishonest failure

John Kerry is, besides many other unpleasant things, a rather ridiculous man, and he has managed to prove that proposition time and time again. Continue reading

The illusion of rights

In truth, there is no such thing as a right. Continue reading

Runaway train

America’s election and its inability to alter the nation’s deadly course

America is engaged in another of its sprawling and costly national election campaigns. A few of the events, such as the New Hampshire primary or the Iowa Caucus, I’m sure have participants seeing themselves as Thomas Jefferson’s sturdy yeomen doing their civic duty. But such humble and misty-eyed tableaux can be deceiving for the big picture is quite disturbing, including, as it does, billions of dollars spent and a lot of noise generated about things which will not change in any outcome. Continue reading

What is really at stake in the oddest American election season of a lifetime

I keep reading stuff in British papers about what America’s Left must do in an election where Donald Trump “has thrown caution to the wind.” Each time I read anything along that line, invariably, I ask myself, “What Left are they talking about?” As perhaps few in Europe understand, there is no Left in the United States. Continue reading

Hillary’s secret letter and the whole matter of endless war and the almost complete corruption of America’s government

An almost perfect measure of the decay of democratic values in American politics is found in a letter from Hillary Clinton to Haim Saban, a wealthy American-Israeli and a major contributor to the Democrats. Continue reading

Donald Trump is electable as president, but . . .

I think it entirely possible Donald Trump could be elected president. I am not in favor of it—but then neither am I in favor of any of the other candidates on offer—yet I do think his election is increasingly possible. Continue reading

Britain’s David Cameron wants to use bombs to prospect for gold in Syria

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party, is a man of genuine integrity and honesty in his opposition to British bombing of Syria. Continue reading

Friday the 13th in Paris and the ugly truth of state terror

Mass murder, as that which just occurred in Paris, is always distressing, but that does not mean we should stop thinking. Continue reading

The enduring reality of government by wealth and some of its consequences

If you really want to understand the world in which we live—its endless wars, coups, interventions, and brutality towards great masses of people—you need to start with a correct understanding of the political machinery at work. Continue reading

The CIA and America’s presidents

Some rarely discussed truths shaping contemporary American democracy

Many people still think of the CIA as an agency designed to help American presidents make informed decisions about matters outside the United States. That was the basis for President Truman’s signing the legislation which created the agency, and indeed it does serve that role, generally rather inadequately, but it has become something far beyond that. Continue reading

Understanding ISIS 101

What’s really terrifying about this threat

ISIS certainly is not what a great many people think that it is, if you judge what they think by what our corporate press proclaims incessantly. Continue reading

The chance of an American being killed by terrorists is close to zero

The risk is calculated to be 1 in 20 million

In the years since 9/11, American police alone have killed at least twice as many Americans as died in that single large event, the annual toll of police killings being somewhere between 500 and 1,000, the variation owing to many such events going inaccurately reported by police. Continue reading

How America screws up the world without ever letting its people know what is happening

Brian Williams, American television network news anchor, caught telling his audience a fantasy version of his experience on a foreign assignment, has unintentionally provided us with a near perfect allegory and tale of caution about American journalism and the role it plays in politics and foreign affairs. Continue reading

The elephant in the room

The origin of modern terror and crumbling Western values

Do you ever solve problems by ignoring them? Most of us would say that is not possible, yet that is precisely what Western governments do in their efforts to counteract what is called “Islamic terror.” Yes, there are vast and costly efforts to suppress the symptoms of what Western governments regard as a modern plague, including killing many people presumed to be infected with it, fomenting rebellion and destruction in places presumed to be prone to it, secretly returning to barbaric practices such as torture, things we thought had been left behind centuries ago, to fight it, and violating rights of their own citizens we thought were as firmly established as the need for food and shelter. Governments ignore, in all these destructive efforts, what in private they know very well is the origin of the problem. Continue reading

Je ne suis pas Charlie

The extremely dark and unexamined underside of the Charlie Hebdo affair

We hear much about bloody events in Paris being an attack upon Western traditions and freedom of the press, and I am sorry but such claims are close to laughable, even though there is nothing remotely funny about mass murder. It certainly is not part of the best Western tradition to insult the revered figures of major religions. You are, of course, technically free to do so in many Western countries—always remembering that in many of them, a wrong target for your satire will get you a prison term for “hate crimes”—but it does represent little more than poor judgment and extremely bad taste to exercise that particular freedom. Continue reading

This is what war does

A Canadian photographer named Bryan Adams (yes, the rock singer) has done something extraordinary in publishing a book of photographs of what war does to soldiers. The wounds of his subjects are not covered with gore as they would be on the battlefield. His pictures are clean studio shots. The subjects sometimes even are smiling. Their wounds are healed, at least as much as such wounds can ever be called healed, but the surrealistic sense of the pictures says something profound about our society. We’ve done these savage things to our own young, and then left them to spend the rest of their lives struggling with the results. Continue reading

And to all, a good night

A contemporary Christmas tale

It was only a matter of time before Santa Claus himself came under the Neanderthal-eyed scrutiny of American intelligence. After all, Santa’s citizenship is unknown, and he crosses borders with no passport or other form of identification. No one knows whether he even has a valid pilot’s license. Continue reading

Living with insanity

Harper, Abbott, and Cameron at the Brisbane G-20

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reported by a spokesman, to have had the following exchange with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Brisbane G-20 summit: “Well, I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.” Putin is said to have replied, “Impossible. Since we are not there.” Continue reading

What we truly learned from the Great War and the absurdity of Remembrance Day

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, the Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding to a longstanding principle that no one nation should ever be permitted to dominate the continent. Continue reading

Political Bunraku

For those who are not familiar, Bunraku is an old form of Japanese puppet theater, its distinctive characteristic being that the puppeteers are on the stage with their puppets, dressed in black so that the audience can pretend not to see them. Continue reading

Some hard facts about terror

We are having an outbreak of reports in the Canadian press about “home grown” terrorists, “radicalized” young men of Muslim faith traveling out of the country to participate in extremist groups abroad, a relatively insignificant phenomenon which has received inordinate publicity. In any event, if you give the matter some thought, you realize that this “news” is a kind of empty publicity, noise about something as old and familiar as human life itself, although it has been bestowed with a new name intended to frighten us into supporting measures outside the framework of a society of laws. Continue reading

Uncanny parallels in character

I’m not one of those who scribble blunt little mustaches on pictures of politicians I dislike, but here I make some uncomfortable and I believe accurate observations comparing personality and character traits of a contemporary politician with one of history’s darkest figures. Continue reading

Nation of cowards

What else can you fairly call a people who attack a population of refugees confined to a small space surrounded on every side by fences and machine-gun towers, a population with nowhere to run? No, that is not put strongly enough. Not just attack, but use the latest and most ferocious weapons from the American arsenal to slaughter more than 2,100 people, including more than 500 children, destroying along the way a major portion of the housing, businesses, and institutions of a poor people. Continue reading

IRAQ, ISIS, and intervention: Just what is going on?

As so often is the case in foreign affairs, we will never know with precision what is happening in Iraq. The governments involved have reasons to disguise what they are doing, and a number of governments are indeed at work there. Continue reading